September drawing of the month: Strutting godwit

Godwit watercolour and fine line illustration (c) Ella Johnston
So pleased to be kicking off my regular illustration posts with my strutting godwit as September’s drawing of the month.

I think godwits are my favourite bird (at least today they are – it’s a bit like picking a favourite song or album for me, it depends on the day, the mood, how I’m feeling etc). You can expect to see godwit bird illustrations coming up quite a few times on my drawing of the month posts.

Work in Progress: Godwit watercolour and fine line illustration (c) Ella Johnston
Work in Progress: Godwit watercolour in the process of adding my fine line

This godwit is sporting his spring/summer mating plumage. I remember seeing an omniscience of godwits (Isn’t that a lovely collective noun? I could have also used “a prayer of godwits” or “a pantheon of godwits”) with their gorgeous russet breasts and soft golden feathers on Iken cliffs and I was practically moved to tears by the birds’ stunning colours and graceful countenance. By the way, if you haven’t been to Iken cliffs it is well worth a visit, it’s one of my favourite places on earth. So atmospheric and serene in any weather.

I created this drawing using Winsor and Newton watercolours on hot-pressed watercolour paper. I then added detail using the Uniball uni-pin pen. These pens have different nib sizes which offer fantastic versatility when working on something like feathers. You can see me start to overlay this pen detail in the video below.

Monday Moodboard: Feathers

Monday moodboard feathers

Here’s my feather themed Monday Moodboard.

Happy New Year! Yes I know I’m a bit late, I started 2017 with a ton of commissions so I’ve been rather busy this past three weeks.

So 2017 has started really well for me – I hope it’s the same for you.

After a nice bit of satisfyingly new work to get to grips with I can now settle into working on drawings for new prints, gifts and stationery.

I’ve read a lot of trend reports saying feathers are going to be big motifs over the next couple of years. Which is very handy for me as I’ve been working on feather illustrations on prints for some time now one of which you can see in the bottom right hand corner of this board.

Here are some more feather daubings in close up…

Feather illustration Ella Johnston Feather illustration Ella Johnston

 

 

Drawing of the week: Watercolour feathers

Feather illustration Ella Johnston

I’m doing a mini exhibition this week and, as always, I try to do something fresh and new for it so I created these watercolour feathers that I’m going to produce prints from.

Made with watercolour and ink these illustrations were inspired by vintage drawings and posters I’ve kept colours very, very simple using, golden tones, navies and purples as well as my trademark black.

Feather illustration Ella Johnston

Monday moodboard: Autumn

Autumn pattern

Rich, warm and inspired by nature – this week’s moodboard is all autumn patterns and motifs.

I know we’re only in September but this change of season is very exciting for me. Autumn’s natural colour way is a source of inspiration in itself. Rich purples and reds, faded greens, soft creams and burnished bronzes make me feel warm as the colder weather creeps in. The motifs too – poppy heads, falling leaves and feathers, pine cones and woodland animals – are such rich pickings for illustrators and artists. I’ve blocked out a whole three days of drawing this week to dedicate myself to precisely these subjects… Watch this space!

Drawing of the week: Feathers

Green feathers Ella Johnston
I’m showing you something different for my drawing of the week – not a finished illustration but some ideas I’m playing with at the moment.

I’m in experimental mode this week, playing with different pens and drawing techniques. I often experiment with illustration but rarely share my playful doodles. However as I’m pushing out of my comfort zone I’m happy to show off my working process, and these feathers, with you.

The ‘playing process’ is so much fun. I get super absorbed with making marks and seeing how shapes and colours interact with each other. It’s a great way of thinking out patterns and new projects.  I’m currently obsessed with feathers – they are a recurring theme for me and an effective way to free up my line and play with colour and shape.

 

Red feathers Ella Johnston

Drawing of the week: Blue Jay Bird

Blue Jay Watercolour Drawing Ella JohnstonMy drawing of the week, a blue jay bird, is inspired by nature and by a song. We have regular jays in our local woods and I’m always trying to spot them on my walks.
Blue Jay Black and White Blue Jay Drawing Ella Johnston

Anyway one revealed himself to me last week, where, weirdly I had the Beatles song Blue Jay Way in my head for the rest of the day. So I fancied doing a watercolour and ink illustration of the regular jay’s North American cousin.

Blue Jay Black and White Blue Jay Drawing Ella Johnston

In old African American folklore of the southern United States, the blue jay was held to be a servant of the Devil. I think my one is harbinger of joy.

The blue jay’s colouration is not derived from pigments but is the result of light interference due to the internal structure of the feathers; if a blue feather is crushed, the colour disappears, this is known as structural colouration.

Blue Jay Black and White Blue Jay Drawing Ella Johnston